Have you ever felt like Jacob? He hadn’t always limped through life. He actually felt quite confident in his way of handling things. He was quite strategic. When his brother Esau didn’t see the value of his birthright Jacob had enough foresight to know the value of it and manipulated the situation to obtain it. Although, he was wrong in his approach He still knew the value of something that would be lasting. Unlike Esau who could take it or leave it, He just didn’t see the value and his appetite was focused on the “momentary pleasures” more than” external treasures “down the road.
The problem with Jacob’s approach was that he deceived others to get what He wanted.
What we manipulate to get we have to manipulate to keep. Jacob was a trickster, a manipulator It was quite possible he would have been a great salesman! If he wanted it He was gonna get it. This isn’t a bad quality, it is good if we do it God’s way.
The Manipulator Becomes The Manipulated
Jacob had an Uncle named Laban. Unfortunately, Laban was as much as a deceiver as Jacob had been. Jacob fell in love with Rachel who was Laban’s daughter. The bible says that he loved her so much that serving for her for seven years only felt like a few days. Now, that is what you call love. Jacob was willing to go the distance and pay the price.
At the end of the seven years, Jacob was expecting to receive Rachel as his wife but instead Laban tricked him and gave Leah as his wife. But because of Jacob’s love for Rachel he served another 7 years for Rachel. Everything Jacob did – everywhere he went – his mind was overcome with thoughts of Rachel. Her beauty and his love for her overwhelmed his heart. Love always has a way of messing a person up. Jacob is in quite a dilemma. He has two wives that our now rivals with each other. His love for Rachel drives him though. She has captivated his heart and affections.
He previously had an encounter with God through a dream. A place called Bethel where God revealed himself to him and told him what He was gonna do in Jacob’s life. He promised him descendants, as many as the dust of the earth. He said he would enlarge his territory. He promised Jacob that He would be with him, wherever he goes. His promise included that He would not leave him until He had done what He had spoken to him.
Jacob then reciprocated by saying, “ of all that you give me I will surely give a tenth to you.” When you feel loved, reciprocation is a very natural response. You can’t help but give back when you are loved.
Some time passes, Esau begins to pursue Jacob because of how Jacob deceived him out of his birthright. Jacob is terrified and comes to a place called Jabbok. The bible says Jacob was left all alone.
Alone At Jabbok
Jabbok is a literal place in this story, for us it may be an emotional place. A place of decisions. A place of facing yourself. The reality of how your choices have affected you or caught up with you. A place of wondering if God is with you.
Jabbok is the place that God wrestled all night with Jacob. Jacob cries out and says to God, I will not let you go until you bless me. Through this encounter, God asks him” What is your name?”
He says, “Jacob”. God says, “You shall no longer be called Jacob but Israel, for you have struggled with God and men and prevailed.” After this encounter Jacob walked with a limp for the rest of his days.
There are specific times in your life that are life changing, monumental moments. You are never the same after those events. There is a divine shift. You are changed because of an encounter you had with God. You may not have an actual limp but you may have some internal marks that are a reminder of how God visited you.
You now are empowered and changed because of the things you have went through. Like Jacob, you walk with a limp depending and leaning on God to carry you through all things.
What events have changed your life?
How have you grown from your ‘difficult experiences?’
Leave me a comment and let me know!